Creating greater opportunities for women and men to decent employment and income is one of the ILO Strategic Objectives. The key ILO instruments underlying this objective are the Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122) and its accompanying Recommendation, 1964 (No.122), the Employment Policy (Supplementary Provisions) Recommendation, 1984 (No.169), and other governance standards as well as fundamental principles and rights at work.

Most economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia record growth which is however uneven across countries and economic sectors. This growth is being driven by a very few industries, notably natural resources, and has not been sufficient to overcome productive employment deficits and jobs gap. The restructuring of industries is still far from complete. The processes of transition opened national markets to global forces and fierce competition, while at the same time weakening the power of the state to regulate the economy. Low wages and labour productivity, significant shares of informal economy, and high youth unemployment are still widespread phenomena in the region. The labour markets still suffer from structural mismatches between supply and demand.

Governments’ capacity to increase the employment potential of growth is sometimes limited due to several factors. Budget cuts have crippled technical and vocational education systems and public employment services. In addition, in several countries these government functions have been decentralized and, in the process, weakened. Many workers are moving among jobs in various sectors or regions, and large cohorts of new young workers are entering the labour market. The existing institutions are not able to meet the demand for on-the-job training, retraining, and life-long learning. The challenges are particularly severe for young people, whose transition from school to work has become longer and more insecure and who experience deterioration in the quality of jobs. .

For all these reasons, employment promotion remains a priority for governments and social partners. The ILO’s tripartite constituents recognize the role of boosting employment in poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. Nine of the ten countries of the region are parties to the Employment Policy Convention, 1964 (No. 122), which makes the promotion of full, productive and freely chosen employment a major goal to be pursued. In countries facing increasing cohorts of young labour market entrants, youth employment promotion in particular is viewed as a high priority.

ILO Office strives to address these challenges in the framework of the ILO’s Global Employment Agenda and efforts to promote decent work. Our key message is that employment promotion requires a multi-disciplinary, coordinated approach that addresses both supply (improving skills and increasing employability) and demand (job creation) through supporting promotion of the comprehensive employment policy framework based on the national context. Thus, we are supporting the ILO constituents in:
  • making employment creation a major goal in national economic and social policies;
  • promoting pro-employment macroeconomic policies that support aggregate demand, productive investment and structural transformation;
  • developing policies and programmes to increase the skills and employability of national workforces;
  • design and implementation of youth targeted labour market initiatives, and.
  • building effective inter-institutional coordination mechanisms.

The ILO provides technical support for the developming employment promotion policies, strategies and programmes, improving skills training and retraining systems, facilitatng transition from informal to formal economy, enhancing performance of public employment services, design and implementing targeted youth employment initiatives, strengthening labour market information systems, building effective monitoring and evaluation systems of employment policies and programmes etc.